I'm sharing this post from my blog, because I'd really like to get some input on this topic. I'm noticing a distinct go gettum attitude when it comes to students and teachers breaking copyright, even in the most innocent and mundane ways. It feels like a true departure from librarianship and a distraction from the skills and concepts I want my students to learn about, like intellectual freedom, critical thought and the democratic process. And I'm not sure how we got here. It's clear that many librarians view this topic in a different light. What am I missing?
Listening to many fellow librarians lately, I’ve been left wonderinghow and when we agreed to being shills for the movie & musicindustries.
I believe it’s my job to educate my students on fair use, plagiarism, copyright and the like. I do not believe it’s my job toensure that the labels and studios are able to squeeze any possiblepenny out of any school or student that they can, or help them locateand prosecute young downloaders.
I must have been out of the room when they slipped that into my job description.
However, I do take this topic seriously and spend a good deal of time on it with my students. They learn the law and we have fruitful and provocative discussions concerning abuse of power,greed and the sometimes downright silliness that current copyright lawencourages.
Here are two great new resources that cropped up this week on Boing Boing.
A site & curriculum:
Teaching copyright: Richard Esguerra registered the domain TeachingCopyright.org as a site for collecting curriculum materials for K-12 teachers who arebeing asked to explain copyright to their kids. Today, teachers areoverwhelmed by slick, self-interested “curriculum” generated by theMPAA and their ilk, which presents a one-sided, inaccurate view ofcopyright. Richard produced some curriculum himself, and anotherstudent, Julianne Gale, supplemented his work with a brilliant lesson plan (pdf) for kids in grades 6-8.
And an out of this world video on Fair Use (yours to download. get it now, before Disney forces them to take it down.) Fair(y) Use Tale,using tiny cuts from many different Disney films mashed together toexplain fair use.
Educators are constantly penalized and frustrated by restrictive copyright. Isn’t it our duty to protect Fair Use and encouragelegislation that expands it? Why are we spending so much effortcomplaining about teachers who show films in class? Why don’t we focusmore on how we can protect the rights of our teachers and students,rather than those of the corporations?